When I first saw the Michael Caine impersonation-off in the trailer for The Trip a few years back, I was amused. But when that scene hit early in the actual movie, it rang hollow. I love Michael Caine, and the one maestro of British impersonations (which seems to be the main point of the movie) does a dead-on Caine, really nailing both the young and old actor. The fact that it wasn’t funny speaks volumes about this failed film.
So a recurring theme in my blog: comedy is tough. The British comedic chemistry that this film yearns for is largely missing. A reference in the movie is made to the phenomenally successful BBC series Top Gear. Now there’s some comedic chemistry. But no such luck in The Trip.
Another problem was the split personality of The Trip. If the comedy worked well enough it might not be so bad that it splits its effort with equally ineffective forays into drama. I suppose the dramatic interludes are meant to bolster the overall comic output — Neighbors comes to mind, but it does not work here.
Sideways, the movie that has grown near and dear to my heart, draws obvious comparisons to The Trip. And since Sideways started slowly, I kept giving The Trip the benefit of the doubt that it would improve as the not-so-dynamic duo trundle along. But except for the end of the film, which I hope without giving anything away brings strong parallels to Local Hero, that higher calling is never reached on this Trip. It is no Local Hero, it definitely doesn’t lean Sideways, and it cannot reach a Top Gear. 4/10